It is a start at introducing the human element directly into a technology understanding.
I really didn’t know what to expect on this trip. One has heard so many stories about the Middle East and what is happening here. As a tourist the situation is calm, the food fantastic, the people friendly and the weather quite kind.
We have toured various project sites that the Canadian Lutheran World Relief has been part of. For so many years one has seen the reports and now you get to see the physical program. The difference our involvement has had is apparent. The people have been very kind and thankful for our participation in helping them in some small way. We didn’t do the work, they did and we only gave them the assistance that was asked for.
We have travelled to a number of cities in Jordan and have seen the countryside and the big city. What has surprised me is the number of homes that are everywhere. Except for the desert one can always see a small town or a cluster of domestic buildings. There is little break in this type of landscape.
Petra was amazing. One can only wonder how they carved out these huge edifices. It is in someways like Utah with the rock formations. The biggest difference is the people in the area, Utah has so few, Petra has quite a few. And this is low tourist season!
We were at a a church site beside the Jordan River this afternoon. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land has a church at the ELCJHL Baptismal site very close to the Jordan River. There are a number of other churches with separate building here also. It was interesting walking to the river and seeing the other side which is Israel, no more than 25 metres away.
Tomorrow we cross back over into Israel and stay put in Jerusalem until we leave next week. Looking forward to the very short bus trips that will be in order. This is a very different place which is not like any other.
The message arrived on my iPhone. The garbage truck would not be here this morning, you have to wait until tomorrow. Not a big surprise with the amount of stuff we throw out.
Do you ever think about all those items you buy or get Amazon to deliver to your house that need to go back somewhere and that somewhere is either recycling or the garbage dump. However we try, there is a ton of packaging that isn’t going to be staying in your home. It is going to leave at some point. And you are the one that will initiate its final journey.
There was a Danish newscast a few decades ago where someone with a cart of groceries had them rung up through the cashier and instead of bagging the items proceeded to remove the packaging and put the contents in containers they brought with them. Milk, sugar, flour, cereals, coffee, even Kleenex, all removed from their packaging and put into something reusable. There was a huge mound of used card boxes, plastic and paper when they were finished doing this. The store manager, now involved, said they had to take the mound with them. Their answer was “I bought the merchandise, I didn’t buy the packaging.”
That packaging is one of the keys to selling the product. It is the ultimate brand placement, on the product itself. Now after the sale, once at home in your fridge or shelf where will it end up? That’s right — with all the other stuff that can’t be in your home permanently. Wonderful coloured cardboard and plastic containers soon to be homeless.
For the past few decades we had a round plastic garbage can that housed our soon-to-be homeless items. This was built to “use” one of those grocery plastic bags you bring your stuff home in. The problem is it really wasn’t built for the bags, it was too big. There was always the pain of trying to stretch the bag around the container. It worked until some heavy wet garbage undid your valiant stretch attempt. That meant the gloppy trash went directly into the bucket which would need washing. I am sure it was the garbages last attempt to get even.
A store flyer came out showing the garbage receptacle to “replace all receptacles.” For $16.00 this beauty was built for plastic bags and would ease the pain of temporary indoor garbage storage. All in the wonderful antiseptic colour of white and with a lid which was also white. Now the transmission of affald (Danish for garbage) would work easier than an enema (English for disgusting).
Now the garbage men must be pleased when they arrive for pickup. Perfect sized white bags all piled together to fall evenly out into the truck for the last ride home for all this shit. This mess would look decent. And because we now recycle everything — paper, plastic, glass, returnables, and compostables there is no need for weekly garbage pickup. Recycleables every week, garbage pick up every other week. (This keeps the contents fermenting to the highest degree during the summer).
Yes we have arrived at trash nirvana. More recycling than rubble. The packaging we bought now goes back to be used again in some manner. We buy it, we recycle it, then we re-buy it — that is the life of a consumer, always waiting for the garbage truck.
One of the most noticeable differences is what you read. Suddenly any business productivity meme doesn’t make a lot of sense. Your really don’t need to be more productive in business do you. Reading takes up much more of my time. You look at your own library and see all those gems you had collected over the years that you now can get acquainted with. Imagine time available to actually re-read all those classics!
That means those email subscriptions need another viewing and by unsubscribing you notice your in-basket has a distinctive personal feel about it. You aren’t living by the clock anymore, your daily cycle is spent around preparing food when you get hungry.
Retirement is the unusual, slowly become the usual.
With only a week left of work you would think it would be pretty easy to be ready for this. You’ve worked most of your life now you stop. The problem is the questions. What will you do because not doing anything seems almost obscene. What about all those people at work? Will you even see them again? What happens when your income is not dependent on getting up and going to work?
In a matter of seven days these questions will become less important because this new lifestyle will suddenly dictate your experience. One thing is certain — time will be your own to use as you choose. That new dimension will be so enjoyable.
This was the first weekend Alexa came into our home. It was interesting to be able to talk to her and have someone in the room who seemed to like your type of music. I could shout from the front room and she would still hear me.
Alexa is Amazon’s incredible voice controlled digital assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri but in a stand alone device. You state your commands by starting the conversation “Alexa,….” and the results are surprisingly consistent and accomplished. Walking into a the room and stating “Alexa, good morning” brings up a short statement about the day and some element about it. This was today’s message “Good morning, and Happy Halloween! I hope everyone gets lots of candy tonight, and not a bag of rocks. And Linus, if you’re listening, I hope you finally get to see the Great Pumpkin!” Yesterday the response was “Good morning, and Happy Diwali! I can help you celebrate this joyous festival of lights. Just keep talking to me, and I’ll lend my spinning blue and white lights to the festivities!”
This isn’t available in Canada, yet but I suspect it soon will be. It connects to various 3rd parties so access to my Spotify account is enacted by stating “Alexa, play Bob Dylan” and it gets music by Mr. Dylan and starts playing. I can name the exact song “Alexa, play Lay, Lady, Lay” and voila, it starts playing. If you have constructed playlists it starts playing them which give you ultimate control. Want to hear CBC AM? “Alexa, play CBC”.
It has been a learning experience, finding out what you can do. Use it for simple arithmetic, measurement conversions (millilitres to ounces, kilometers to miles), dictionary for words, what happened on this day in history, etc. etc. Each question and response is posted in text on your Alexa app. It really is phenomenal and it opens up huge potential for the future. Siri is portable but Alexa is always in the room with you. And this is just the beginning!
Sometimes you use a service for a long time and it becomes almost taken for granted.
I remember meeting this young man in Seattle at Gnomedex. He had started this blogging service which people were beginning to take notice. We shared our views of the internet and what possibilities and opportunities it would bring. All of us were beginners in some way and it was exciting to be part of it. He was up in Vancouver at the NorthernVoice gathering the following year and we just managed to exchange hellos. A person you would always enjoy to have a good conversation with.
I received this notice as a message in my WordPress blog recently. This is the kind of message that Matt Mullenweg would send you. Thank you Matt for helping change so much of what we need to change.
There was something very unique about Kansas City. It might be the best kept secret in America. There were no expectations before arrving but the city quickly offered some interesting venues, great food and very friendly people. A few of us went there for the Credit Union Water Cooler Symposium and found it a very interesting place to walk around. From the venue site ‘The Alamo’ to Kansas city BBQ eateries there was a positive city character that was portrayed everywhere. My favourite place was the Negro Baseball League Museum. It portrayed. in a timeline, how the league started and what it went through until the late ‘50s. Speaking to a security attendant in the lobby, he mentioned that there are numerous Major League players that come through the museum. A few weeks ago the Molina family were there. Stories like that bring the place alive.
Cities have much to offer and each has a special understanding and character surrounding the place they live. No two are ever the same, which makes traveling so interesting. The buildings put together the framework of living but it is the people who inhabit the city that make it so interesting. There was an article this last week about a Danish town that were digging up the streets for sewer lines and came across a wooden pipeline that was built in the 1500’s. What did they do with it? Threw it away because ‘that is what you do in a city that is over 750 years old.’ No matter what the age or the edifices a city has, it is its character driven by the people that give it that wonderful sense of difference.
There was something magic about the mid 60’s. We had recovered to some extent from those assassinations. We no longer saw alcohol as the drug of choice. Vietnam was the war that was coming into view. There was a darkness that was balanced by something ever so different. Hair was longer, institutional frameworks were no long taken for granted, the clothes were different with giant colours and bell bottoms along with the return of paisley. All of this had a strong touchpoint – music, it was changing as much as it was new. We had the Beattles, the Moody Blues, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. This was a new line in the sand. This was the music that had no definitions but the ones we gave them.
To this day that music brings back those moments full of sounds, sights and smells. The context is as important as the melodies. Without the context the music only becomes notes on a page. Nostalgic for sure but when memories surface they are more than mere tunes.
It was a haunting, fearful time were one encountered doubt. But the music was like a sword that cut those fears to the quick and made happiness part of your own humanity.
Just because your father had it
why do you?
It sometimes trickles in
attached to that foot
without any reason
but then when it explodes and
you curse that 6 letter word
There is suddenly
a radar around you foot
sensing any immovable object
And bedsheets hurt,
staircases are steeplechases,
and you hope your
foot doesn’t explode.
Purines still exist.
As you attempt to forget
until next time.
In today’s Globe and Mail Russell Smith has an excellent review of Michel Houellebecq’s new novel “Submission”. It is provocative and amazingly frank about a book that has recently been published that speaks to the recent events in France.
Russell points to so many areas of concern about the world we now live in. One thinks about the freedom of expression and the need to be vigilant with guarding this basic tenet in our fragile democracy. We need to consider what those that would hamper that right, by the suggestion of ultimate protection with a proposed security regime, would have in the lessening of that freedom. Maybe our understanding of what sacrifice means has to be changed. The freedoms we hold dear will never be guarded by anyone other than the individual and that may mean an ultimate sacrifice.
To people that knock on our door and attempt to convert us to their brand of religion I tell them that though I disagree and will debate what they are presenting, I will stand with them against any group or organization that attempts to take away their right to express their views. Without that diversity of expression, that only comes with that freedom, we will return to serfdom.
with go-karts running
in my head.
My eyes are closed
yet the ceiling
is crystal clear.
You just wait
to get drowsy.
You may see
dawn and are glad
it is fall
This morning I was listening to The Who and their 1971 album “Who’s Next?”. This album captured something of that time. What was it like then and how was it any different than now?
The album cover speaks of the youth’s obstinance then. It was a time of confusion. It was a time of optimism though. Personalities had come and gone but nothing or no one seemed in want for much. We had arrived with our ideals, our education, our minimal but refreshing means to do just about anything. We hadn’t met any diversity that we could not either accept or overcome in some fashion. Our new found courage was grounded in being naively youthful. Energy and passion wore out the obstacles. We resisted little as there was little to resist. Our suffering had not arrived and the world was still bound in its happenings, sharpness had not started. Our idealism would not be prevailed upon. The world and its events were belonged by no one and it was still ‘us’. ‘Me’ and it selfishness had not been born. ‘Now’ is not of that age.
This is what it is about. Why do political parties not understand this is a prime motive for citizens to be vocal because we live in a democracy.
Went to the Vancouver Art Gallery yesterday to see the Coupland exhibit. It was excellent! I had no idea the extent of the creativity of this person. There is a lot to see and it is definitely a show you can attend more than once.
The intrigue about his work is substantial. You can see a unique perspective of the world we now live in. You can see elements of being a Vancouverite and a Canadian. There is boldness yet intricacy in the presentations. It is exciting to dismantle and then reconstruct, in a different fashion, one’s view of something. So much of his art does this and it is brilliant.
One very neat thing is the invitation to take pictures with the hashtag #couplandvan.
Half way through a 3 week holiday and for the first time in a long time I feel somewhat rested.
We seem to get into an everyday work cycle that is not very easy to shed. It takes a lot of concentrated effort to stay away from the business aspect of your life with the immediacy of smartphones and the ubiquitous internet. It seems we have woven our personal and business lives in such a fashion it is hard to take them apart. A staycation is more like part time work.
The next week will be how well my mind can reset. And how hot and sunny it will be!
The CUWaterCooler is just about over. There are two more presentations before it will be the end of this years Symposium. It has been as different as all the others before it.
We missed a few of the editors like Ed Brett from Westminster Credit Union. The venue is probably the best ever and those returning knew the neighbourhood so getting around was easier. We reunited with old friends and made some new ones. We talked about the same old things and some new debates began. Matt Monge’s presentation about ‘Servant Leadership’ was extremely valuable and really challenged anyone who was a CEO. Rob Oxoby’s “Behavoir, Savings and Borrowing of the Lifecycle: Insights from Behavioural Economics’ gave us some remarkable experience in Games Theory. Every presentation was valuable and relevant to anyone in a credit union. And as always there was an entertainment factor at times. When I get home I need to find that old Monopoly game.
One can’t really put a tag or singular definiton about CUWaterCooler. It really needs to be experienced. It is fun and it makes you think is some new fashion. Thanks to everyone who came, to those who contributed, to Tim and Matt who work so hard to make it what it is, to Ron who always gives us some incredible insight and to Nashville for being a wonderful host.
Funny, once you drink from this watercooler you always want to come back.
There are only a few days left until leaving for Nashville to attend the CUWaterCooler event. It has been a few years that this event has been in existence and has evolved from the Forum Solutions Symposium in Fishers, Indiana that goes back to at least 2008. (somebody out there will correct me on this).
I realize some individuals when reading this will say that most of us are just regurgitating the same old stuff and live in our own credit union echo chamber. That may appear to be so. Maybe it is because most of us have travelled the road of attending too many value-less conferences. We have paid large amounts of money only to hear experts tell us what we either already know or what we have dismissed as not extremely vital.
One of the key understandings of co-hosts and editors is to have a symposium that brings value in the simplest of terms to everyone who attends. Most presentations are by people who have a high degree of passion for what they will speak about. They are genuine in what they present and are more than willing to be challenged to further the dialogue. When everyone is willing to discuss the subject everyone learns.
I am always amazed by the people who attend for the first time. They really haven’t experienced those types of discussions or that level of networking. They usually come away excited and anxious about what to do when they get home. That makes this event different. The ideas you hear about get developed to a greater degree by the communication you have with everyone there. You begin to formulate what that will mean where you work. That is the real magic of the CUWaterCooler. Two days of being part of a group of people who want to do a better job, are willing to change and have some great ideas on how to accomplish these new found challenges — who wouldn’t want be to part of that?
Here is some advice. Come with no expectations except to enjoy the company, have intriguing discussions and make some new friends. What you leave with will be a gentle prodding to try something different. For some that will be immediate, for others a much longer journey. The fact is that something in the way you perceive credit unions will change, if only just a little. And that is what makes it all worth it.
Yesterday after having lunch with a few friends at an Ethiopian restaurant I was able to spend the afternoon at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). This was the first afternoon I had ever had free time in the city and had heard of their collection of Inuit carvings was the largest in the world. It really was worth it.
They had a large exhibit framed around the various decades since 1950. You could see the progression or more so the influence of the outside world in their carvings over the years. The geographic area from which the carvings have come from is huge but the common points the artists were depicting were similar. It was intriguing to see such beautiful work.
It started me thinking about the creativity in each piece given the landscape, geography and setting in which the carving was created. There was simplicity and yet in the strongest possible terms a complex beauty you rarely see. Art seems to transcend what we see with our eyes. It begins to take us into a realm that we don’t inhabit very often. To be able to be drawn in by the uniqueness of so many carvings was a wonderful experience. We need to take time, to pause for more than an hour and enter those artful, creative realms where text and noise no longer exist. It refreshes us to be human on occasion.
If you are ever in Winnipeg visit the WAG. It is an exceptional place.